Posterior subcapsular cataract
Posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) is a type of cataract that starts from a small area with the opacity forming near the back part of the lens, right in the path of light.
There are several causes; the most common is due to diabetes and the use of corticosteroid medication. Other risk factors include ageing, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, previous eye inflammation, injury or eye surgery.
Akin to other types of cataract, symptoms of PSC include blurring and cloudiness of vision, reduced contrast sensitivity, difficulty reading especially in low light and seeing more glares and haloes.
When PSC progresses to an advanced stage, the vision becomes poor resulting in people getting into accidents as they are unable to see well. More importantly, it may lead to another condition known as glaucoma and in particular, angle closure glaucoma, a condition where the pressure in the eye builds up and presses onto the optic nerves at the back of the eye. Glaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss. Symptoms include red eye, pain, nausea, and vomiting.
At this stage, the risk and complexity of the surgery increase as it becomes more difficult to remove a very dense cataract.
Types of cataract surgery
At Atlas Eye Specialist Centre, we provide 2 types of cataract surgery:
1. Micro-incision phacoemulsification uses ultrasound energy to emulsify and break apart the cataract for it to be removed through a small 2 to 3mm incision. An intraocular lens will thereafter be implanted. No suture is needed as the wound heals on its own. This provides more comfort and a faster recovery post-surgery.
2. Laser-assisted cataract surgery uses the femtosecond laser used in LASIK surgery to create the 2 to 3mm incision. Ideal for complex surgeries, this method is also seen as being minimally invasive, has improved wound construction, and allows for accurate lens positioning. However, the procedure costs more than micro-incision phacoemulsification surgery and its benefits are not seen as significant enough to warrant the price difference.
Cataract surgery is a 30-minutes day surgery (1 eye) performed in the hospital. Two eyes are performed on separate days to reduce the risk of infection (to leave at least 1 day apart between 2 eyes).
For Singaporeans, we can claim Medisave up to $2,450 per eye. The surgery is also insurance claimable, depending on the coverage.